Desperate employers and remote hiring: A recipe for candidate fraud?

The Great Resignation along with the sea of unfilled jobs are forcing employers today to do as much as they can to ensure that they not only retain their best employees but also make the right decisions when hiring.

- Advertisement -

That pressure could mean recruiters and HR professionals are making costly mistakes, according to Lindsey Zuloaga, chief data scientist at HireVue, a hiring technology provider. One such risk arises when job candidates are less than honest in the application process—from exaggerated or blatantly fake job histories to fraudulent references to candidates who enlist assistance with assessments. It’s an issue compounded by the pandemic-driven shifts in how many employers today are hiring.

“Technology and remote work have changed the opportunities available for cheating in the hiring funnel,” Zuloaga says. “We’ve all heard horror stories of the wrong person showing up on day one after their camera stayed off for the interview process.

Related: Talent acquisition will be featured at HR Tech this fall. See the sessions here

“Like any type of fraud, the cheaters continue to invent new techniques, and the victims of fraud must always keep up,” she adds.

Technology is playing a central role today in making hiring more efficient—but employers need to be aware of both the benefits and risks. HireVue’s Global Trends Report found that, in the last year alone, nearly 60% of employers introduced job-matching technologies for recruiting. At the same time, more than one-third offered both in-person and virtual interviewing. And about one-quarter started incorporating AI, chatbots and skills assessments into their recruiting process.

- Advertisement -

See also: Finding a way to a successful post-pandemic future

While technology can often reduce pressure on recruiters and HR—which can, in turn, lessen the risk for fraudulent candidates slipping through—HR must work hand in hand with tech to weed out the bad apples. Zuloaga offers several best practices for preventing potentially costly mistakes in the hiring process:

  • Eliminate unnecessary requirements. When companies rely strictly on resume data points, candidates are more likely to embellish their accomplishments in order to make it to the next step. This is why she recommends removing unnecessary policy requirements like inflated years of experience and degrees when they aren’t needed. Instead, it’s better to focus on skills-based assessments. The Global Trends Report, she notes, found lower employee turnover at companies that have adopted a skills-first approach to talent acquisition [54%] and/or replaced resumes with skills-based assessments [40%].
  • Take a blended approach. Zuloaga recommends combining skills-based assessments with a follow-up interview to discuss the test results and dig deeper. For instance, if you’ve used a coding challenge, ask the candidate to explain their methodology in solving the issue. For non-technical assessments, you can ask competency-focused follow-up questions that dig deeper into an area where someone demonstrated high performance.
  • Use strong background checks and onboarding procedures. Information security is one of the primary concerns when it comes to detecting candidate fraud, Zuloaga explains. If a bad actor does make it through an assessment and follow-up interview undetected, having the right background check and onboarding procedures managed by an HR team can help prevent them from infiltrating your organization and accessing customer data.
  • Streamline the process. According to Zuloaga, finding the best candidates requires gathering the necessary information for your hiring manager to make an informed decision, without making the process unnecessarily taxing for your candidates. “Most people just want a job that helps advance their position in life,” she says. “Making the process fairer and easier to access, without unnecessary steps or unrelated requirements, will create a process where people don’t feel like they need to embellish or lie about their qualifications.”

While exact figures on candidate fraud are not easily determined, Zuloaga says, cases are exceptions to the rule. Even so, they can prove expensive and risky, in terms of company data.

“Most often, candidates are acting in good faith, trying to secure a job,” she says. “Cheating of all kinds existed long before the rise of fully remote hiring, but companies need to be aware of new methods of deceit and adopt innovative solutions to meet the challenge.”

Avatar photo
Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at [email protected].